Provide a little background info about yourself
I have always been active throughout my life starting with growing up as a tomboy in Oshkosh, WI. My favorite sports were tennis, gymnastics, and swimming. When I was 15 I experienced a severe injury playing basketball which eventually led to major surgery on my knee at 16 years old. This slowed me down some but didn't stop me. Fast forward to my 40's when my knee started to deteriorate with arthritis. I stopped running and started cycling. I found that I really enjoyed it and my knee could tolerate it pretty well because it was non-weight bearing. I have now been cycling for over 12 years.
How long have you been affiliated with SBR?
LOL! I had to go back through my calendars to figure this one out. I started with the PBC classes in the 2010-11 season. And except for the year I had my total knee replacement surgery, I have done the classes every year since.
Why did you join SBR? Why have you stayed?
I initially joined because I wanted to ride/train through the winter season. I liked the idea of training with CompuTrainers and also using your own bike. I have stayed because it is a lot of fun and I have seen so much improvement with my cycling over the years.
What is your favorite part about training with SBR?
By far I love the people and the staff. I have been in the 9am T/Th classes since I started. People come and go over the years but we all are there because we love to cycle. The attitude is fun, supportive and everyone encourages you to do your best.
You recently returned to training following a major surgery. Can you talk a little about that, and how the recovery process has been going?
About 8 years ago I noticed that my "bad" knee was slipping and not as stable as it usually was. Running just felt weird. I thought I had torn an ACL and so I went to my orthopedic surgeon thinking I was in for a 3-6 month process to get it repaired and rehabbed. My surgeon told me that what I needed was a new knee. I was devastated! I was only in my mid 40's! I managed to hobble on it for 6 more years until it got to the point where I literally could not walk for more than 1/2 mile on a flat surface. But it was when my biking started to suffer that I decided it was time (LOL! Priorities! Biking over walking!)
On December 8th, 2015 I went "under the knife". I will be frank, it was hard. This was my third surgery on this knee and it was very complicated. Recovery took a long time. I had to relearn how to walk up hills and practice doing the stairs. But I started out on my bike on the trainer just trying to get the pedal to go all the way around. (This was an easy way to work on range of motion) It wasn't until 9 months later that I finally felt I was in a better position than before surgery.
Today, I LOVE my knee. I hardly think about it anymore. It doesn't hurt like it used to and my leg is now as strong as the other one. I can even get out of the saddle again when biking. The one limitation I have is that it doesn't bend as much as the other one. This means I cannot sit on my heels and I have to be careful squatting down.
What are your training and/or racing goals this year?
It has now been over 2 years since my surgery and I am looking to maximize my fitness and see just what my new knee can do. With this in mind, I bought a new bike. I had been thinking about a new bike for three years but couldn't justify it with such a disabled knee. As an aging athlete, I think that equipment is more important than ever. A good bike with the right fit and equipment makes the ride more comfortable. And, when you are comfortable you want to stay out on the roads longer.
With this in mind, I have signed up for the Assault on Mt. Mitchell in May! This ride will challenge me but I look forward to training for it and actually doing it with a group of great women. I will also do the 70.3 Wisconsin in June as a relay. I will swim and bike while my husband will run. We did this last year for the first time so I am looking to improve my (our) time. Lastly, I will do Race the Lake in August. I've done this race three times prior to my surgery. It is a lot of fun for me as I grew up on Lake Winnebago and the ride goes right by my street. I also like that it is flat for the first 45 miles. Around Madison it is hard to find a road that doesn't have some degree of climbing involved.
I love to do events more to train for them than to race them. Some days I need a reason to go out on my bike, especially if it is raining or I am tired. Having my goals in place early helps keep me focused and doing my best.